NYSC Scandal: Senator under fire for criticising Minister Shittu

Senator Ben Murray Bruce
Senator Ben Murray Bruce

Some Nigerians on social media have verbally attacked a senator, Ben Murray-Bruce, for criticising the minister of communications and the Buhari-led administration over the NYSC scandal that has dogged the administration.

PREMIUM TIMES exclusively reported how Mr Shittu skipped the mandatory service, an offence that may see him lose his position and earn him a jail term.

Mr Shittu failed to participate in the NYSC scheme despite graduating from the then University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University, OAU) at age of 25.

The revelation about Mr Shittu, who is currently angling to become Oyo State governor, is coming to light about a week after Kemi Adeosun was compelled to step down from her post as Nigeria’s finance minister after this medium reported that she skipped the same service and then procured a fake exemption certificate to cover her tracks.

Months of discreet checks at the NYSC headquarters showed that the communications minister did not present himself for service after graduation and is yet to do so till date.

When contacted Mr Shittu admitted to PREMIUM TIMES that he did not serve but claimed he thought ”his first political post after graduation could suffice as national service”, a claim lawyers and NYSC insiders consider as ludicrous and untenable.

Mr Shittu on Friday also claimed that he has not violated the nation’s constitution.

The corps, on Friday, dismissed the minister’s claim. It said his (Shittu’s) holding of a political office could not replace his constitutional duty to participate in the compulsory national service.

The spokesperson of the NYSC, Adenike Adeyemi, said the minister’s claim that he held an elective cannot suffice for his obligations to the nation.

Mr Bruce, who is a member of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP), condemned the minister’s claim. He lamented how a serving minister skipped the mandatory programme while millions of youth who have undergone the scheme are jobless.

“As I am reading the story on @PremiumTimesng about another @MBuhari minister who did not serve, I am struck by the sheer number of members of this administration who have high profile, highly paid jobs without serving, yet millions of youth are unemployed despite serving Nigeria,” he wrote on his official Twitter handle.

His comment, however, did not go down with many Twitter users as they blamed him and the Senate for failure to spot such errors during the screening of presidential nominees.

Many have blamed the legislators and the State Security Services empowered to screen presidential nominees for failing to spot abnormalities like the cases of the two ministers.

PREMIUM TIMES had earlier reported how the lawmakers rather used the information of Mrs Adesoun’s forgery to blackmail her to approve suspicious and illicit payments to the National Assembly.

On Saturday, seeing that the odds were not in his favour on the Twitter tug of war, the Bayelsa lawmaker, thereafter, backpedalled quickly. He blamed the SSS ”for the failures”.

“Are you aware that the @NGRSenate screens these ministers based on the information given to us by the security services? If they were able to fool the @PoliceNG and the DSS, how does it make sense to blame me or the Senate?

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